benjamin pogrund on the bittereinders


Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, is a fascinating place to publish a feature article on Afrikanerdom. Here’s some of what Benjamin Pogrund wrote up today:

The establishment of the State of Israel only a few days before the 1948 election also affected Afrikaner attitudes: Despite their anti-Semitism, their intense Calvinism meant that they venerated the People of the Book. They identified with Israel. To them, these were two “white” peoples at the head and foot of the African continent, each fighting for survival against black hordes and godless Communism.


The fact that increasing numbers of dark-skinned Israelis, like those from North Africa and India, would have been classified as inferior “non-whites” under South Africa’s apartheid laws never seemed to penetrate the Afrikaner racial view. Most Afrikaners are probably as comfortable or uncomfortable with black majority rule as other whites are. However, among younger Afrikaners, there is a discernible sense that freedom for blacks has also brought them their own freedom: They have discarded the shackles of oppressing another people. Afrikaner business, which flourished under apartheid rule, has proved flexible. It has embraced the economic empowerment on which the African National Congress insists, has brought blacks into shared ownership arrangements and hired them to senior positions. It is even said that blacks prefer dealing with Afrikaners as opposed to English-speaking whites. During the apartheid era, blacks commonly said that although Afrikaners were the oppressors, their stand was open and blunt, whereas English speakers would say they opposed apartheid when they actually supported it.


Will Afrikaners survive as a small, priveleged people in a black-majority country and continent? The question cannot be answered, but some point to the mixed-race coloreds – who are offspring of the original white settlers – as proof that at least the Afrikaans language will be carried on. For the moment, pragmatism wins. As an Afrikaner hotel owner in a village says with a laugh: “Before, we ran the country and the English-speaking made money. Now the blacks are running the country and we are concentrating on making money. That’s okay.”

I found this article and some of its arguments fairly curious for a number of reasons.

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